I must have started listening to him back when I was 16. I remember a group of us would all hang out at this old dead end out in the Industrial Park area of Florence just down the road from where I found myself working 15 years later. Ole #7 is what we called it cause it was right next to Tee Jays Plant#7. No matter what else was going on we'd all find ourselves out there at some point on a Saturday night just hanging out and having a good time. Good times and Jimmy go hand in hand so it's no surprise that over the all the laughing and hollering, "Son Of Sailor" could often be heard in the background. I remember Matt Parker and I driving around looking for trouble in his old navy blue pickup truck singing "He Went To Paris".
I forget when I bought my copy of Songs You Know By Heart, but it must have been somewhere between my senior year in high school and freshman year of college. That summer when all I wanted to do was sit at Tommy's lake house drinking anything I could get my hands on. That summer I made my first trip to Margaritaville. I didn't join a fraternity because of which celebrity was also a member, but it was always cool to know that we both shared the same rituals and connections.
Lucy and I would head off towards the beach quite a bit back in our early twenty's and the rule for me was all Jimmy all the way down there. Even now I insist on leaving the station on the Jimmy Buffet channel the whole time we are in Orange Beach, Al. We even stopped in to visit his sister Lulu's restaurant this year and will be back a dozen more times in the years ahead.
Despite the fact that I own a dozen or so of his CD's, I've never seen him play live before. Something I plan on correcting very soon. When telling their stories of how they came to meet somebody famous, most will say they went to their concert, snuck around back, waited for them to come off stage, and the rest is history......I've always been different so it shouldn't be a shocker to hear that this week I met Jimmy Buffet on an airport runway on my lunch break on a Tuesday afternoon. Thanks to my Aunt Lisa who works at the airport. When hearing Jimmy might be flying in (Muscle Shoals has a huge music history and Jimmy has recorded many an album here) she gave me a call on the off chance that I might get close enough to meet him. At first I figured it would never happen and almost didn't show up. Then at the last minute Lucy cancelled our lunch plans and instead of sitting at home for an hour scanning the web for freelance work, I decided I'd rather show up and not see him, than sit at home and not even have a chance.
So there I was along with maybe 10 others, shaking the hand of the man that had pretty much written the soundtrack to my entire life, and there with me was that simple yellow CD cover with the red letters that I bought some 15 years before. Here is the picture I took of Jimmy Buffett. Very soon it along with my signed copy of Songs You Know By Heart will be framed and hung on the wall of my home. Guess I better go buy another copy....